Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham hopes to return to action by the end of September as he continues his recovery from cruciate ligament surgery.
The 32-year-old was sidelined for both the FA Cup semi-final and final after sustaining the injury against Chelsea in March and it was initially feared he would be absent for the rest of 2011.
However, Higginbotham has worked on his rehabilitation throughout the summer and has stepped up recovery work at the Potters' Clayton Wood training base as the rest of Tony Pulis' squad head off for their annual training camp in Austria.
"The aim from the moment I suffered the injury was to come back fitter and stronger and that remains my big goal," Higginbotham told Stoke's official website.
"As tough as it was at the time, you can't dwell on the past and I am just concentrating on getting myself fit.
"If I do my rehabilitation work properly, that will dictate how strong I come back."
Higginbotham can expect to have a few new team-mates when he does eventually return.
Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson has been heavily linked with a move to the Britannia Stadium after failing to agree terms to join Wes Brown and John O'Shea at Sunderland and Higginbotham is watching transfer developments with interest.
"The club has got to keep progressing," he said. "The manager has made some great signings over the years and I am sure he will again."